We are always trying to learn how to get more followers— but what if our goal was actually to get people to unfollow you?
1. Success is measured by how many people unfollow you
To me, I actually think in terms of social media, you should measure your success via how many people unfollow you— rather than follow you.
The reason is this: when you start saying or doing stuff that causes people to unfollow you — it means you are staying true to yourself. You are not censoring yourself. You are saying what is really on your mind. And that pisses people off. But the only way to be true to yourself — is to not fear people to unfollow you.
2. Say what is really on your mind
So to the prior point, have the courage to say and do what is really on your mind.
Don’t censor yourself when you are talking politics online or in real life. You might lose friends, family, and this petty concept of ‘respect’ from your peers.
But I say fuck that.
If you want to make real change in society, you cannot censor yourself. You cannot compromise. Because if you compromise your message, you will fall into demise.
Whatever you say might surprise others— but once again, if you truly believe in your message, your ideas, and your art— you will piss people off.
Think about it. People love the status quo. But if you want to go to the next level in your life, you have to shatter the glass box that people put you in.
Society wants to emasculate you, and put you inside a golden cage. They put on the golden handcuffs on you (two gold Rolexes) and give you a good salary, tell you to shut up, sit down, listen to the boss, pay your mortgage, and don’t disrupt the order.
I true believe that as photographers and artists, we are the true revolutionaries. We can make change in society by the art we create— because all art (real art) is political, social, and takes a shitload of courage to put out there.
So don’t be afraid to piss people off — if you are a HERO, you are willing to sacrifice yourself for the collective. You got your SOUL in the game. And no hero can go on his or her own journey without facing adversity, fighting monsters, or losing a few limbs.
3. Go opposite
I don’t know why — but there is this unspoken rule on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other forms of social media — to post regularly (once a day) but not too much (like 10 posts in a row).
To be frank, I used to only post on social media once a day — because I wanted to maximize my likes. I didn’t want people to unfollow me.
But now I’m like fuck it. I treat social media like my own (public) mood-board or cork-board. I post images that I like, and I want to look at, and want to easily access. So I throw up things on my wall without thinking too much, and I just follow my gut, intuition, and mood.
The first rule: use social media for yourself.
For example, I like using social media (especially services like FLICKR because I can store full-resolution JPEG images, so in the future if my computer crashes, I can download them.
I like to use Instagram because I use Instagram on my laptop, and I can easily look through my photos in a grid. I like how my photos look.
I like to use Twitter, and use certain hashtags because in the future if I need to access certain links or videos, I can find my own hashtags #STREETCLUB. I use Twitter like my public Evernote — I use it to keep notes and book marks.
I like to use Facebook to share stuff. And I only share my articles if I like my own articles.
As a rule, before you share something— think to yourself:
If I saw this in someone else’s feed, would I like or re-share it?
Also two thoughts to consider:
- Don’t share what you would not re-share.
- Do not share what you would not personally like.
So perhaps, if you upload photos to Instagram or whatever— have faith in yourself. Like your own shit. I actually quite like taking the phones of my friends, looking at their new photos on Instagram (on their phones), and liking their own posts, only to have them look in shock an hour later (after figuring out what I did) and frantically un-liking their own photos (because they are afraid that others will think they are ego-monsters).
Use social media as a tool to make social change, and to share your art. Don’t compromise.
If anything, let’s do an experiment: try to get as many people to unfollow you this week.
Homework assignment: Delete all your photos on your Instagram, and unfollow everyone.
Re-follow only 1 person (I only follow Cindy @hapticindustries), and start to re-upload only your favorite photos. Only upload your personal favorites, and don’t look at your likes or comments or follower counts for a week.
Also, I recommend using the ‘FLUME’ app on the Mac computer (costs about 10 USD) to upload your photos, and to UNINSTALL Instagram from your phone. I don’t know what you can use on a PC, but search Google for ‘Desktop Instagram Uploader.’
Trust me, it will be hard. It is like having a caffeine withdrawal or heroin withdrawal. But you will feel better in a week.
If you want to learn how to use social media, read the resources below:
- 50 Blogging Tips For Beginners
- The Social Media Blackbook for Photographers
- How to Start Your Own Photography Blog
- A Photographer’s Guide to SEO, Blogging, and Social Media
- How to Brand Yourself as a Photographer
- Advice for Aspiring Full-Time Photographers
- 1,000 True Fans
- The “10x Principle”: The Only Difference Between “Success” and “Failure”
- How to Become a Photography Teacher
- How to Teach a Street Photography Class
- Why I Teach Street Photography Workshops
- Trust: The Most Important Thing You Need to Succeed as a Photographer
- Why Do You Need More Likes or Followers?
- Don’t Go Into Debt For Your Photography
- Instagram is Going to Be the Next Facebook
- Don’t Trust “Free” Photography Social Networks